There is not many famous Disney departement stores. Yet in every 5 Kingdoms, after your first few yards you encounter one of their biggest. It is where many guest finish their days, lazily scrolling between its isles…
This article is about the 5 Emporium stores of the 5 Magic Kingdoms.
Emporium stores… It does sound familiar thanks to their real history. Adolph Feiss founded the first one in San Francisco in 1896. They quickly spread throughout California, Nevada and even Utah. Though the original stores and Main Street’s don’t look the same, it may be where Walt got its inspiration to build its own departement store.
Many details from the old facilities were included in the mockup like the ceiling attached “money mover” system that allowed the cashier, not permitted to manage devises to send the customer’s money away and wait for the change to return.
Now as for Kingdoms differences… Among the 4 Emporium only two kind exist. Only Tokyo got itself a unique Grand Emporium enclosed in its World Bazaar canopy.
The first kind, the original is used in Disneyland and guess where . Hong Kong :) Again, those two sharing the same Main Street, they share the same Emporium for the exception of the colors which appear brigther in the Asian version.
The second kind is the richer and more colonial oriented Emporium of Walt Disney World which was later replicated in Disneyland Paris. Those two even bear the same color scheme. Difference lays inside, for Disneyland Paris’ was refurbished a couple a years ago to adopt a brigther interior made of white and gold. The original emporium all bear a wooden marketed decor. Paris with its white inside look even more southern than its Florida counterpart.
Inside they all have ceiling rotonda inspired by the great departement stores of the past centuries. Disneyland’s uniqueness lays in its upcorners scenery. Those inspired the Design of the early Disney Stores from the 90’s.
In every Kingdom this large store actually takes twice as much as what its facade looks it does.
In Anaheim it takes the whole block up to Carnation Café, in Paris and Hong Kong as well. Tokyo’s Emporium also uses the south west block of World Bazaar. Orlando’s Emporium even went further in 2001 when it outgrew its premises by absorbing the whole West Center street.
Access is made from the Town Square corner and along the street up to the 2003 addition in Walt Disney World. In Disneyland Paris, entry is also possible via the Liberty Arcade, note that from the Emporium you can enter Dan’s Barber Shop as well.
I was unfortunately unable to confirm this, but it seems Disneyland Paris is the only emporium to hold two representation of its two american counterparts. The first one illustrate my article, and the second one follows.
Every Emporium follow a tradition as to always bare richly decorated window display, where characters from the year Disney releases animate to entertain passing guests.
In every Kingdom the Emporium is the store, the place where you’re sure to find what you want, even this tiny accessory you spoted in the deep jungle of Adventureland.
They are the perfect way to end you day picking souvenir, or waiting for the parade.
For many they’re just a sidewalk you wait on waiting for your wife to end the shopping tour, but even then, can you pass the time by watching its multiple windows and changing facades.
Above picture is from Flickr user Inkista.